Buffalo Chicken Baked Shells

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I’ve been pinning various recipes lately, in hopes to find meals that all three family members will enjoy. When I came across these Buffalo Chicken Baked Shells on Baked by Rachel, I was sure I found a winner. I added an extra chicken breast and mushrooms to the recipe. I made 22 shells, 12 I baked the night that I prepared the meal, 10 I froze to be cooked at another date.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast ( I used 2 )
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp pepper, divided
3/8 tsp celery seed, divided ( I didn’t have any, so it was left out)
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for topping ( I used Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce)
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
12-15 jumbo shells
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mushrooms

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

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20140218-212209.jpgIn a slow cooker, add chicken and broth. Cook for two hours on high, then shred meat. My slow cooker has issues, so I cooked my frozen chicken for 1.5 hours on high. Discard liquid. Shred chicken and chop onion, celery and mushrooms. Season shredded meat with 1/4 tsp celery seed and 1/4 pepper and salt. Toss with buffalo sauce until meat is coated. Set aside.
In a large pasta pot bring water to a boil, add 12-15 jumbo shells to the water. Cook 9-12 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Drain and let cool on a baking sheet or nonstick surface.

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In a small skillet over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms, celery and butter or olive oil. Sauté until tender and onions are translucent.

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In a large bowl, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/8 tsp celery seed, blue cheese crumbles and vegetables. Add chicken mixture and stir well.

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Prepare baking dish with a light coating of olive oil and a few spoonfuls of buffalo sauce. Fill one shell at a time with spoonfuls of chicken and cheese mixture. Carefully arrange in prepared baking dish. Drizzle with spoonfuls of buffalo sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Baked for 20-25 minutes. I wrapped the tin tray tightly in plastic wrap and then closed in freezer friendly bag for use at a later date.

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Totally yummy! Thanks Baked by Rachel !

Baked Egg in Avocado

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Avocado makes everything better. It’s a staple for me I love finding new and easy ways to incorporate them! Speaking of easy, it doesn’t get much easier than these 4 steps.

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1. Cut avocado in half
2. Remove pit and use spoon to scoot out a bit to make more room for egg
3. Crack eggs in bowl and place yolk and some of the egg whites into the avocado
4. If necessary, use aluminum foil to support avocado. (Mine were a little wobbly and the egg can easily spill out)

Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes but keep an eye on them, remove when the egg looks done.

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Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Pancake Muffins


The quest continues to find foods that Reagan will eat. Breakfast time is always a hit or a miss and usually consists of bites of toast, yogurt, fruit and Raisin Bran. I’m not a breakfast fan and pancakes are the absolute last thing that I would ever order at a restaurant, but I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE New Hope Mills Buttermilk Pancake Mix. I don’t know what it is about this pancake mix, but I am totally in love!

I was up super early this morning, so I decided that it was pancake day! I wanted to make something fun for Reagan to eat and decided on these adorable pancake muffins that I had seen on Pinterest. Reagan loves blueberry muffins and we had just picked up a bunch of blueberries at the market on Saturday, so…fresh blueberry pancakes here we come! (they are muffin shaped, so my hopes were high)

I’ve been adding Reagan’s DHA and probiotic to multiple meals lately, instead of just one. Since she hasn’t been really eating much, it’s pointless to add the entire serving of the DHA or the probiotic to say, just her yogurt at breakfast time. It’s such a waste, because she never eats the full serving of ANYTHING let alone something that I add the DHA or probiotic to.

Ground Flaxseed has also made its way into Reagan’s diet (mine and the husbands too). Flaxseed is known to have many healthy components, but is especially known for containing healthy amounts of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (good fats), lignans (antioxidant qualities), and fiber (soluble and insoluble). Reagan can benefit from ANYTHING healthy!!

I decided to make three different kinds of pancakes- strawberry, blueberry and plain. My husband is not a fruit fan, so the plain would be right up his alley. The amount of fruit depends on how much you want on top of each pancake muffin. I topped 4 muffins with 4-6 blueberries each, used 2.5 strawberries to top another 4 muffins and left 4 muffins plain.


Ingredients
2 cups New Hope Mills Buttermilk Pancake Mix
3 table spoons Organic Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal
1 egg
1 cup water
blueberries
strawberries
cooking spray

Materials
muffin tin
wire cooling rack
metal spoon
mixing bowl
metal fork

Add dry ingredients together.

Add egg and water- mix until smooth (no clumps)

Using cooking spray, coat bottoms and sides of muffin tin holes. I swipe insides of tin with paper towel so that they are not too greasy.

Fill muffin tin holes 3/4 full and then top with desired toppings.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes- The strawberry ones took a little longer- 14 minutes

Test with a fork to see if muffins are done- Stick a fork into two different muffins and if the fork comes out clean, the pancakes are done. Using a metal spoon remove pancakes from muffin tin holes and place on wire rack to cool.

These muffins were super yummy, but they were a total FAIL for Reagan. She picked out the fruit chunks and didn’t even attempt to try the tiniest bite of the pancake. Humph…there’s always tomorrow.

Must Have Meat Loaf


My husband and I love this meat loaf! I’ve been making it for years and have never strayed because of the simplicity and deliciousness of it! There are two pages ‘bunny eared’ in my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book; one is the Banana Bread, which I will make as soon as the bananas that are sitting on my counter are ready and two is this fantastic Meat Loaf! Don’t get me wrong, I have tried other recipes in the book and do go back to random ones from time to time, but I have to admit that I keep this gigantic book on my counter mainly for these two recipes and because it’s a pretty off white color!

I made this Meat Loaf for dinner the other night and paired it with mashed potatoes and roaster cauliflower. I’m only posting about the meat loaf, but wanted to let everyone know that I add sour cream to my mashed potatoes as I’m mashing them…such a fatty. And the roasted cauliflower recipe that I use can be found here: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=347545 The cauliflower is super easy and is DELICIOUS!

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or 2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, basil, or oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, lamb, or pork
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard

The original recipe says that the Meat Loaf yields 8 servings. I beg to differ, unless you are planning to feed 8 small children. This recipe fed my husband and I for two dinners. Keep in mind that neither of us are big eaters, but my husband did have seconds at dinner number one. You can see the size of the serving in the final picture at the conclusion of the recipe.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium owl combine eggs, milk and bread crumbs. Stir in onion, parsley, salt, sage, and pepper.

Add ground meat; mix together. I find it easiest to mix the meat with a clean hand. (I’m sure my husband would cringe if he knew that)

Lightly pat mixture into an ungreased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees F.

Remove meat loaf from oven and spoon off fat.

In a small bowl combine ketchup. sugar, and dry mustard (whichI forgot to add into the ingredients pictured at the top).

Spread ketchup mixture over meat and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Reagan was uninterested in the meat loaf, the mashed potatoes or the cauliflower…UGH! However, she LOVED dipping her finger into the ketchup topping!

Zucchini Bites


I totally BOMBED these Zucchini Bites (http://curiouscountrycook.blogspot.com/2012/03/zucchini-tots.html) the first time that I made them because I neglected to squeeze the excess water from the shredded zucchini, which resulted in super soggy bites. This recipe was so simple that I wanted to try again, remembering this time the important part of ridding the zucchini of it’s excess water. I figured if I was successful the second time around, this may be a recipe that Reagan will love and get her to eat a vegetable!

I found the recipe on the Curious Country Cook’s website: http://curiouscountrycook.blogspot.com/2012/03/zucchini-tots.html

I changed two parts of this recipe; what I baked the Bites in and how long I baked them for. I don’t own a mini muffin tin, so I used a larger muffin tin. The mini muffin tin would be perfect to bake things for Reagan, because they would be just her size…that is if I can ever remember to buy one when I’m at Marshall’s, Home Good’s, or even at the local grocery.
The original recipe calls for you to bake the Bites for 15-18 minutes. This would be the perfect abount of time if you were using a mini muffin tin. Since I had a larger amount of the bite mixture within each tin hole I had to up the baking time to 23 minutes.

The recipe yields 12 mini Bites (mini muffin tin) or 7 larger Bites (larger muffin tin)

Ingredients

1 cups zucchini, grated
1 egg (1 large egg equals 3-4 tbsp when whisked together)
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
1/4 cup bread crumbs – I used Italian style
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.

Grate the zucchini and then place in a paper towel to squeeze out the excess water or place in a colander and push down on the shredded zucchini and allow for the water to drain through the holes– if you skip this part, the middle of the Bites will be really soggy (SOGGY IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT…THE WILL BE MUSH!!!)

In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.

Using a spoon, fill the muffin holes to the top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes (mini muffin tin) or 23 minutes (larger muffin tin). Keep an eye on the tops of the Bites. When they are browning, remove them from the oven so they don’t burn.

I’m not going to lie and say that these were Reagan’s favorite, but she did eat half of one at two different sittings and that’s more vegetables than she’s consumed in awhile. My husband, mother and I really enjoyed them, so they are worth making again…but DON’T FORGET TO SQUEEZE!